Top positive review
105 of 105 people found this helpful
on December 21, 2007
I had never used fresh vanilla beans, but wanted to try my hand at making vanilla extract. Vanilla beans are EXPENSIVE in the spice aisle of my local grocery store. I did find them in the fresh veggie section, but even those were $3.99 for 2 and I needed at least 16 for the extract. I decided to see what I could find online. This store (JR Mushrooms & Specialties, Inc.) has great reviews and the price of the beans was reasonable. The beans arrived quickly and I was impressed with the quality - plump, NOT dry and the smell was heavenly.
I made a coconut cream pie for Thanksgiving dessert and decided "What the heck. Let's give cooking with the fresh beans a try." In addition to the vanilla extract called for in the recipe, I split a vanilla bean and scraped the seeds into the mixture. OMG! I have never tasted coconut cream pie this good. The only difference was the addition of the fresh vanilla. My BIL called the next day to rave about the pie AGAIN.
I dropped the rest of the cut pod into a bottle of vodka (I'm using Tito's Handmade Vodka) and have continued to add pods as I use them in cooking. The extract isn't ready (it hasn't even been 1 month since I started it), but the smell is wonderful and the taste is well on the way to perfection. I'll definitely be buying fresh beans to use in my baking from now on.